To coincide with Sally Mann’s survey exhibition, A Thousand Crossings, at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Gagosian presents a selection of Mann’s photographs.
For more than four decades Mann’s haunting photography of the people and landscapes around her has explored memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and human connections to nature and place. The works on view are drawn from three series: Deep South and Battlefields, which depict “the radical light of the American South” with an oblique and lyric universality, and Proud Flesh, an intimate portrait of Mann’s husband.
Mann began taking the photographs that would become the Deep South series in 1998, when she drove through the Deep South to Louisiana. Working with a large-format camera and the nineteenth-century wet-plate collodion process, Mann constructed a makeshift darkroom in the back of her car, shooting and printing the images as she went. Making negatives this way gives rise to serendipitous and evocative imperfections—streaks, scratches, spots, and pits. The resulting silver gelatin prints, such as Untitled (Emmett Till River Bank) (1998), are both completely in and of their environment: eerily quiet roads, ruins, and riverbanks that were the sites of both ordinary life and unspeakable violence.
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